Today, on December 11, the official presentation of Astana Pro Team-2017 has been held in Astana, the capital city of Kazakhstan. The event was dedicated to the 25th anniversary of Independence of Kazakhstan.
The presentation was attended by honored guests of the team, representatives of state government, Kazakhstan cycling federation, sponsors and partners, including Astana Motors, who will continue supporting the team in the new season, journalists and Astana fans and supporters.
Before starting the official part of the presentation, Astana Team took a look back into 2016, remembered the most important moments of the last season and told about new changes in the team.
- I believe, we spent a very successful season. Together with Vincenzo Nibali we won the famous Giro d’Italia, while in total we scored 34 victories and 30 podium places in the most prestigious races around the world. I am especially happy with the fact that 7 wins and 4 podiums were scored by our Kazakhstan riders. Anyway, the year is over and now we are looking forward to the upcoming season. With full confidence we can say that our project is on the right way. There will be some important changes in Astana in 2017: in the roster, in cycling clothing, bikes and other technical things. We are sure that all these changes will lead to a new step of development, both, of the team and the entire project. Today, we are presenting the renewed team to give you an opportunity to be proud of us in the next season, - said general manager Alexandr Vinokurov.
During the official presentation the new Astana Pro Team bicycles Argon 18 were presented.
Alongside, the new design of the cycling kit by Giordana Company was showed to the guests. The renewed kit received a more modern design while holding the traditional Astana turquoise color so loved by its fans. Giordana used all the newest technologies to make the clothing more comfortable for riders.
Astana general manager Alexandr Vinokurov pointed the biggest goals of the team in the next season:
- Traditionally, Astana Team will focus on successful performance in the Grand Tours. This is our strong side, during our history we won 8 Grand Tours, so we are exciting to strive for the new successes. We have a strong leader Fabio Aru and the team will be built around him. Besides, we have a number of young, but very ambitions riders, who can surprise. Of course, we are planning Kazakhstan riders for the Grand Tours too. First of all, we are talking about Alexey Lutsenko, Andrey Zeits, Dmitriy Gruzdev and Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev, but, maybe, we will try Daniil Fominykh and Artem Zakharov too. However, besides the Grand Tours, there are a lot of prestigious races in the new UCI WorldTour calendar, which will be another goal for Astana. First of all, we are talking about week stage races, but also we would like to get some good results during the classic season, - said Alexandr Vinokurov.
In the final, the new roster of Astana Pro Team-2017 was introduced to the guests of the event as well as to the whole world’s cycling community. With exception of Miguel Angel Lopez, who is still recovering after his recent crash during the training, all other riders of the team arrived to the ceremony.
Riding for Astana Pro Team in 2017 are 28 riders from nine countries of Kazakhstan, Italy, Denmark, Spain, Belgium, Ukraine, Estonia, Colombia and Russia:
Fabio Aru, Zhandos Bizhigitov, Pello Bilbao, Matti Breschel, Michael Valgren, Oscar Gatto, Andriy Grivko, Dmitriy Gruzdev, Laurens De Vreese, Artyom Zakharov, Andrey Zeits, Arman Kamyshev, Dario Cataldo, Tanel Kangert, Bakhtiyar Kozhatayev, Miguel Angel Lopez, Alexey Lutsenko, Riccardo Minali, Moreno Moser, Luis Leon Sanchez, Michele Scarponi, Nikita Stalnov, Paolo Tiralongo, Ruslan Tleubayev, Daniil Fominykh, Jacob Fuglsang, Jesper Hansen and Sergei Chernetckii.
Photo credit: (c) Bettiniphoto.net